back to article Hooo boy, Commvault, your activist investor is not a happy chappy

Under-performing data protection biz Commvault is under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to make board and operational changes alongside a share buy-back programme. Elliott has previously agitated for change at a whole raft of tech infrastructure companies including Brocade, Riverbed, NetApp and Symantec. It …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    If Elliott are complaining they must be doing something right.

  2. seanf

    Commvault good - Elliott meh

    So Elliott acknowledges of Commvault; "an incredible product success story. However, having built a great platform with high-performance products" and

    "a leadership position in a growing market with a product set that customers like and competitors respect". But their opex is (claimed to be) too high.

    Commvault looks to me to be a good software company that invests in R&D and aims to keep faith with both it's customers and stakeholders. Long term.

    Elliot is a bullying rentseeker that exemplifies why European and Chinese industry will trash the US if it cannot start taking a longer view.

  3. Just An Engineer

    Dear Elliot Mis-Mangelment



    Commvault Management

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    the "activist investor"

    Every single time I have read about that type of entity makes me feel like I'm reading about a particularly virulent parasite.

    The "activist investor" appears to exist solely to insert itself in an otherwise healthy company and, when it has enough legal influence, to wreak havoc and mayhem to get the company to do what it wants, ie more dividends.

    Well, dear "activist investors", why don't you go set up your own manufacture with your own product and see how that goes.

    Oh, but you can't do that. You don't have the brains to actually create something. Swooping in and perverting other people's creations is a lot easier, isn't it ?

  5. Tom 35

    activist investor

    There is no such thing. The correct name is Corporate Raider, or asset stripper.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elliot Management is everything that is wrong with business. Go in, change out the board, hollow out the company, get a short term profit, and get out before the company collapses. It's a parasitic operating model.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Go in, change out the board, hollow out the company, get a short term profit, and get out before the company collapses."

      Sooner or later the victims' customers will get the message and take their business elsewhere pre-emptively so the company collapses before they can get out.

  7. mikeymac

    Commvault's a neat company. Their best trait is their aggressive compatibility with other companies' products. The one issue I see for them in the current environment is the declining cost of disk storage. They're at the point now where their licensing is more expensive per TB than the disk! What made sense when disk was $8 or $9/GB makes no sense at all when disk is $1/GB. This isn't Commvault's fault, but I think that they're going to need to figure out how to deal with it.

    I wish them well, because it's pretty amazing software!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The activist investor can go take a long walk off a short pier...

      Obvious Bias: my employer is a commvault customer, and I wear the 'owner' hat of the commvault installation there.

      Commvault is an outstanding product, once you get past the complexity and the whole 'setting it up' part. (that's one good reason for having a VAR or the vendor come out to assist with it.)

      Their licensing is a bit of a mess: If we licensed our environment by the actual amount of space used, it'd be absolutely ridiculous. Instead, we have parts of it licensed by capacity, and the virtual server agent licensed by the number of VMs. This allows us to backup a 12+TB godzilla of a VM and not touch a drop of the ~10-15 TB of capacity we have for other data agents.

      One of the companies that I didn't see in that graphic was Veeam, who has been slowly stealing Commvault's lunch money over the years. a lot of those companies aren't in the same market as Commvault, which gives me even more proof that the activist investor is just there to try and bleed the company dry for short term gains as opposed to taking the longer view.

      Anon for obvious reasons.

  8. mgogala

    The claim about Oracle and Symantec outperforming Oracle is a ludicrous one. Both companies are losing market share, both companies are being squeezed out of the market. Shouldn't a successful technology company be increasing its market share, like Commvault and not losing it like Symantec and Oracle?

  9. Woman-in-technology

    Problem is EMEA office

    Investor is right. But it´s not about product, product is good.

    There are 2 different Commvaults. The first one is American Commvault - dynamic, innovative, high-performance and highly professional people.

    Problem is Commvault EMEA office. Though there are great small local teams in each country - selling good. Also great tech specialists across EMEA.

    But also incompetent managers working for EMEA globally who know how to manipulate Salesforce reports to show nice performance numbers, but have no idea how to hire and grow professionals and what to do to make really good results. Lot of unnecessary managers managing 3-4 people, or other incompetent people not bringing real value, regular travels of managers across EMEA, staying in expensive hotels. Also awful EMEA localization of software and marketing which nobody cares about.

    EMEA office is full of people hired from the villages across Reading and instead of bringing revenue to company, their main occupation are gossips and intrigues to get rid of people who know more, are different or try to work in different way.

    It´s not Bob Hammer´s issue. It´s EMEA functioner´s issue. EMEA should be fixed.

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